Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Brian, draft superstar.

I'm cranky. Our fantasy football draft on ESPN got totally hosed tonight thanks to their craptacular Java crappity crapfest. Only Brian was able to draft, and he logged in two hours late. Everyone else was autodrafted. I wiped the results and reset the draft for Labor Day. ESPN better have their act together by then.

I thought we were upgrading by moving to ESPN, but this makes me miss the crappity crapfest that is Yahoo. At least the draft worked.

I have a couple of plane trips coming up and I'm soliciting suggestions for new reading material. Keep it coming, people. I need entertainment. What have you read in the last couple of months that I need to read?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Split personality.

When did I become the kind of person for whom slashdot is in heavy browsing rotation?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The one habit of people who get their way.

Some people are just good at getting their way. I've been thinking lately about what makes such a person. There are a few different approaches that you can take: you can be charming and persuasive, you can be stubborn and aggressive, you can be correct in disagreements so much of the time that people generally think you are even when you're not. You can have a track record of getting your way. Probably several other approaches too. And I've seen all of these styles work for people.

What I'm thinking about, though, is what happens when two people tangle who are each accustomed to getting their way. In most cases the approach that's going to work best varies with the personalities involved and the degree to which the issue matters, but I wonder: what makes people who win all the time -- even against other people who win all the rest of the time -- successful? Is there some approach that they tend to choose over all the others that can be effective? Is there a pattern? Not to go all self-help blog style on you, but I wonder.

I've been trying to pay attention to these situations where they arise, socially and especially at work, to see what generalizations I can draw from them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Twin cinema.

This new New Pornographers album is just what I needed. No, seriously.

I haven't been in a very blogful mood lately, or had time. I could have blogged about 40-Year-Old Virgin or My Date with Drew (and how weird it is that Chris knows that neurotic guy from high school), or about other books and music and treatises of flirting, but mainly I've been working a gazillion hours, and that's not very interesting to blog about. Well, it is, but not in any way that I can actually blog about.

But really, I like this album. Go get it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Omelette, Redmond style.

I've been buying a lot of new music this year, but in the end I still haven't found anything better than the Stars album. Really. It's damn good.

I finished The Corrections last night. I can't decide whether it's about a highly functional dysfunctional family or about a highly dysfunctional functional family. It's one of the two. I can see how Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace are friends. They're the same genre, but I think different styles. I really enjoyed the book, but my lingering criticism is that I wanted more Denise, less Gary. Maybe less Alfred. More Chip. I guess I wanted more of those characters that are more like me.

On with my quest for something new to read. I saw that Jason blogged about Guns, Germs, and Steel. It made me miss Jason. I had a conversation with d last night that I felt that I needed to have with him or Jason. Really needed to. No one else would do but those two, and yet in few other respects are they similar, and in almost no respect are my relationships with them similar. And yet only those two would fit. I've made lots of friends in Seattle, but I'm still working on finding someone for this exact kind of conversation. Maybe I'm getting there. I see potential everywhere. Or not everywhere, but in some places.

I know what I mean even if no one else does.

Oh, man, I just saw all the beavers log on all at once. I just bet they're playing XBOX. But I digress.

Actually, I do little besides digress.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Omelette, southwestern style.

In summary, Albuquerque is a cool town, Durango is pretty but not quite pretty enough, and the first day back running after being at altitude for a few days I feel totally rock star.

Durango: We didn't know where to stay. The next time I go back for a wedding, I'll know better. Stay in town, not on the mountain. Even still, if you're not going for a wedding, there are better places to go. It's beautiful, but not as beautiful as other places you can get with the same amount of travel time.

So I started reading and have almost finished The Corrections, finally. I waited a while for this one. I admit it, the Oprah flap put me off. Not that he refused the spot but that he was nominated for the list in the first place. On the other hand, so was Tolstoy, so. I need to get over this, and other things. Ryan was reading it from Seattle to Denver and I hated the book I was reading and he gave me such a hard sell that much to his chagrin I bought the book at the Denver airport for the flight to Albuquerque. We had a little travel book club! It was nice for me and mildly annoying for everyone else. I'll tell you what though, this book is good. He gets it right in so many ways. I ought to finish it in the next couple of days and post more comments, but it has been really interesting to read this in proximity to all these weddings.


So while we were in Albuquerque, we spent some time wandering around the UNM campus. These days I have mixed feelings visiting college campuses. On the one hand, I love them. I spent most of my adult life on one. I especially love them in the summer. I love the pace, the architecture, the different hats people wear. I can walk around campus and stick labels on to people like it's nobody's business -- undergrad, grad, professor, staff. Maybe I'm wrong sometimes, but I bet it isn't often. (Maybe they look at me and say: shouldabeen professor, sold out. Maybe not.) It's familiar. It's comfortable. It represents the other life I might have had.

On the other hand, it's familiar. It's comfortable. It represents the other life I might have had.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Departure lounge.

Well, we're off to Durango tomorrow for the weekend for weddings and whitewater rafting.

It's been an interesting few days: finally booked reservations for our honeymoon in October (Tahiti and Bora Bora); went to Nishino with Chris's grad school advisor and had an interesting conversation about the philosophy of science as applied to mathematics; mentally constructed a treatise on the nature of flirting. You know the routine.

On the philosophy of science/math thing: Steve suggested that what appear to be catastrophic paradigm shifts in one field are really the result of gradual progress in and cross-pollination with another. Of course he was talking about math and physics, and I think if you want to be honest about it that kind of relationship between these two really only goes in one direction: gradual progress in math rarely leads to paradigm shifts in physics, but gradual progress in physics can cause huge leaps in math. I wonder if this is because progress in physics is often the result of better tools, whereas progress in math is motivated by new observations in other fields that themselves result from better tools. The tools of math aren't changing as much as the tools of physics.

I wonder how much I can talk out of my ass about physics.

Chris and I talked later about the notion of math as a system of description -- in the same way that art might be a system of description, for instance -- for phenomena in the natural world. I don't know what to make of this, because the description part of math seems to enter into things with the properties of the axioms assumed rather than with the practice of math itself.

I wonder how much I can talk out of my ass about math.

I've been realizing lately that almost every interesting conversation that I've had in the last several months has been about internationalization in the software industry. That's only natural under the circumstances, but it feels like a problem.

On the nature of flirting: It's a pretty good treatise, but it'll have to wait until after my trip. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

And we barbecued lamb kebabs on Saturday night, too.

This has been a busy weekend:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: We saw this on Friday and it was really, really good. The Tim Burton-Johnny Depp aesthetic doesn't always work for me, and this was definitely pretty notably Tim Burton-Johnny Depp. But this time it worked, and it worked great.

Blue Angels: Eh. I go more for the company than the planes.

FootZone 5k: My god, yes, it's a 5k at the mall. At the mall. But it was also a very fast course (around the perimeter of Redmond Town Center) and I finished in 23:36, 7:36 min/mile pace, which is pretty good for me these days. Especially considering I didn't rest my legs at all. I was happy.

Tuna, yellowtail, tempura, oh my!: Chris made us sushi tonight. We invited Ryan and Simone over and we spent several hours feasting. So much feasting that we didn't even eat dessert. Chris taught us to make various kinds of rolls. It was a lot of work -- not the kind of thing we'll do more than once in a while -- but it was a lot of fun.

This is the kind of weekend I've been wanting to have for a while, lots going on but relaxing all the same.

Next weekend, Durango...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Finish this sentence.

The thing about Anthony Bourdain is that...

Okay, I'll start.

I think I'm going to like his show. Sort of grudgingly. I like him and I don't like him. I like his egullet posts. I didn't like his last TV show even though I liked the idea of it. I've never read his books, but I ought to. I work with someone who reminds me of the software version of Anthony Bourdain. If there can be such a thing.